[ih-spal-yer, -yey]
a trellis or framework on which the trunk and branches of fruit trees or shrubs are trained to grow in one plane.
a plant so trained.
verb (used with object)
to train on an espalier.
to furnish with an espalier.

1655–65; < French, Middle French: trellis < Italian spalliera back rest, espalier, equivalent to spall(a) shoulder, support + -iera -ier2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
espalier (ɪˈspæljə)
1.  an ornamental shrub or fruit tree that has been trained to grow flat, as against a wall
2.  the trellis, framework, or arrangement of stakes on which such plants are trained
3.  the method used to produce such plants
4.  (tr) to train (a plant) on an espalier
[C17: from French: trellis, from Old Italian: shoulder supports, from spalla shoulder, from Late Latin spatula]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1660s, from Fr. espalier, from It. spalliera "stake-works shoulder-high," from L. spalla "shoulder."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Can be sheared as a low hedge, grown as a pot plant for indoor use, or trained
  against a fence or espalier.
To train the espalier, the branches are tied to horizontal wires strung through
  eye hooks.
Pyracantha is beautiful as an espalier, bringing lush greenery and seasonal
  color to a blank wall or fence.
AN espalier is a plant whose branches are trained to an orderly and ornamental
  two-dimensional form.
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